LifeSensors Inc., developer of SUMO-based protein expression technologies, established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) of the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Peoria, IL.

The CRADA will extend the work of previous collaborations between LifeSensors and ARS in which baker’s yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) were developed that improve the consumption of cellulosic biomass and produce ethanol. This technology utilizes LifeSensors’ Small Ubiquitin-like MOdifier (SUMO) system and integration of the recombinant technology into an automated robotic platform to screen for novel engineered strains of S. cerevisiae.

“LifeSensors is pleased that, in addition to its application in biofuel production, SUMO technology has also enhanced production of therapeutic and industrial proteins—thus reducing the cost of future medicines,” said Dr. James Strickler, VP of R&D at LifeSensors.

Inventor Dr. Stephen Hughes (USDA) and co-authors published their research in Plasmid’s journal and were awarded the “Top Cited Article 2008-2010”. The original research article is “Engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain for improved xylose utilization with a three-plasmid SUMO yeast expression system”. To learn more about the LifeSensors and USDA's yeast technology: Hughes et al., 2009

A recent report from Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA), “Biofuel Enzymes: A Global Strategic Business Report,” projects the global Biofuel Enzymes market will exceed US$900 Million by 2017. “Cellulosic ethanol manufactured from cellulosic biomass is a substitute likely to address the limitations of corn-based ethanol and fulfill the requirement for extra liquid fuel sources.” Cellulosic biomass includes sugar cane bagasse, wood chips, agricultural waste, as well as prairie grasses.